Popular eventing venue safe from HS2

  • A popular equestrian business on the High Speed Two (HS2) rail path will be safe after the owners struck a deal with the government.

    The route for the first phase of HS2 passes through Washbrook Farm at Aston-le-Walls, Northants.

    If it goes ahead, building work on the new high-speed railway from London to Birmingham will begin in 2017. Services are expected to start in 2026.

    There were concerns in the equestrian world that this could mean the end for the competition and training venue (news, 7 November 2013).

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    Owners Ann and Nigel Taylor run more than 20 days of affiliated and unaffiliated horse trials a year, from grassroots to advanced levels.

    They also provide year-round training facilities, run a livery yard and have a number of professional riders based at the farm – including Joss Gray and the Qatar eventing team.

    An agreement has now been reached, meaning the venue will be safe whether the railway goes ahead or not.

    Mr Taylor said it has been an ongoing process and a deal was finalised about six months ago.

    He added they have sold off 35 acres to the government, which they are renting back until development starts.

    More land has also been bought with the money from the sale.

    “We have been trying to make a negative into a positive with the railway,” Mr Taylor told H&H.

    Last month (28 August) it was also revealed that the Chilterns tunnel near Great Missenden would be extended by 2.6km.

    The deep-bored tunnel, which runs from just east of Chalfont St Peter in Buckinghamshire, will now end north of South Heath instead of south of the village.

    This saves 12 hectares of woodland from being destroyed.

    However, the route for the high-speed railway will still cut across large areas of hunting country.

    H&H reported in 2013 that the proposed path for the first phase of the railway would affect the Bicester with Whaddon Chase (BHWC), Grafton, Kimblewick and Warwickshire countries.

    “Going straight through the middle of the countryside is going to affect the lives and livelihoods of so many people,” amateur whip for the BWHC Julian Price told H&H at the time.

    Ref: H&H 10 September, 2015

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